And Now for Something Completely Different

ball-state-cardinalEvery so often life-changing opportunities come along that you just can’t ignore. I am about to embark on one of those. I have been a professional marketer for more than 20 years. I’ve created marketing campaigns for a small company back in the days when a printed catalog was the core of your marketing efforts. I’ve led content marketing for a large technology company in the era where social media is re-writing the rules of marketing. There’s my agency experience layered on top of that which stretches back to the newspaper classified days through web site development, trade show booth management and press releases all the way up to YouTube videos, Facebook pages and client blogs.

I also have a period of consulting and social strategy where I worked with enterprises large and small, including many brands you probably interact with every day, and helped present the vision of how social media could radically change their business. And somewhere through all of this I co-founded a notable social media blog and co-authored a social media book.

Through it all I have not just been focused on building awareness for products and driving sales. I have always considered what it meant to have smarter customers. Marketing is easier if you educate prospects before you try to sell them. This also happens to be the crux of the content marketing explosion where marketers are looking to solve prospects’ business problems with creative, educational and informative content. A good ebook tells you how to do something, not how to use a specific product to do something. And the point of the blog and the book has always been about educating marketers about social media and how to improve their marketing effectiveness with it.

So it feels like a very natural extension of my marketing career that I have accepted a full-time faculty position as a Distinguished Lecturer in the Marketing Department at the Miller College of Business at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. I will be teaching two social media marketing classes per semester with an emphasis on marketing analytics, starting in the fall semester. I will spend this spring semester developing curriculum for my classes, guest lecturing in other marketing classes and beginning to build relationships with the Indiana technology community. It is a bit odd to call it spring semester when the first day of classes were cancelled today due to yesterday’s snowfall of nearly a foot and today’s frigid temperatures (13 below, and wind chill at 35 to 40 below).

As the next generation of marketers emerge from college with their shiny new degrees, these digital natives need to understand what it means to use social media in a business context. While many have experience posting and updating social media channels for college organizations and events, I will help guide them in developing a metrics and data-driven approach to social media that sits alongside the fun and creative engagement that is required to break through the clutter. A traditional marketing background is needed for social media marketing as well, and I plan to build my curriculum around that idea. I will also tap the expertise of my network of marketers and other experts, so if you are interested in helping the next generation of marketers, please let me know.

And for my Triangle area friends, yes, I am moving to Muncie Indiana. I am currently working out the details for what that will look like over the next month or so. I’m also thinking about a going away get together later in January. Watch Facebook for details. Social media will make me seem not that far away. Just check your phone for the latest updates.

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen